Personal Branding for the Modern Entrepreneur

branding - marketing - asheville - modern entrepreneur - small business - wnc
Personal branding is more than just a head shot. Ask about how our personal branding sessions are tailored to your needs.

As small business owners, we often opt for the fast head shot session with that one photographer that is just starting their own business, in regard to our own branding for the sake of saving the almighty buck. And then, as the evolution of our brand takes hold we often realize, that head shot we had taken two years ago out in a field in the middle of the day…it just isn’t communicating the way we need it too. Often times we didn’t even make it outside (or we did…at noon, on a lunch break) and ended up being photographed while sitting on a wrinkled bed sheet with bad lighting.

So tell me, now that you have your feet under you when you really look at that head shot with the clarity of experience what is that portrait saying about you and your brand?

Is it saying?

  • She is detail oriented?
  • She takes her business seriously?
  • She seems friendly and approachable?
  • She is authentic?
  • She is professional?

Or is it saying:

  • She is operating her business on a wing and a prayer?
  • She is just starting out?
  • She is inexperienced?
  • She is off-putting or worse yet, mean?

What you’re looking for in a photographer is one that will not only photograph you in such a way that you have great lighting or a studio to be photographed in but one that will take the time with you to:

  • tailor your photo shoot to your own branding needs
  • handle your hair and makeup styling with a professional
  • pose you in a myriad of ways that flatters you
  • give you several options in wardrobe so that you’re able to create cohesive branding throughout the year that you can release for different events and marketing opportunities and speaking engagements and not just the “same old head shot”
  • customize a Facebook cover photo to you and your business

If you’re considering “new head shots” I invite you to experience our personal branding sessions at our Asheville photography studio. Ask about how we can tailor your photo shoot to YOUR branding needs. We would love to photograph you.


Elegant Portraits in Asheville

A wife, a mother, a grandmother and a civil servant. Beautiful and elegant glamour portraits were the perfect anniversary gift for your husband. Wishing you both many, many more years together.

Thank you Robyn. I loved every bit of photographing you.

Hair and Makeup: Andrea, Doll Box Productions

portraits - women - asheville

Are you considering your very own portrait session in Asheville? I would love to photograph you.

Get in touch for your no obligation consultation to discuss how you envision being photographed and answer all of your questions about our photography service here in Asheville.

Talk Soon,


Modern Portraits with Christine

Christine, GAH! I have had SUCH a blast with you! Ladies and Gentlemen, this beautiful woman is a dance instructor and a nutritionist and, in her words she “lives holistically with a sense of humor”. Needless to say she is a ball of fun and gorgeous to boot! My makeup artist and I are headed to a show she has coming up at The Orange Peel, too. Seriously, I can’t wait!

Photography: Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography

Hair and Makeup: Wendy Ballance, Blush Asheville

contemporary - portraits - modern - beautiful - woman

We were able to give her a fun-filled and relaxing day of pampering and laughter, beautiful portraits for her business and for HER. Sultry, inspired, friendly and authentic.

Thank you so much Christine. I adored photographing you.



Are you considering a portrait session with Studio 828 Photography? Whether it is for a personal branding session for your business, updating your family portraits this Fall or enjoying a day of glamour customized just for you, I would love to photograph you. Reach out for your personal consultation. We’ll chat, answer any questions that you may have and address your vision so that I am able to tailor your portrait session specifically for you and your needs.


How I felt about my own Before and After

One of my gifts, as a photographer and a human is that I am able to see everything beautiful in you and everything that you maybe, aren’t super happy about, too. So, how did I feel about my own before and after?

When I first entered photography professionally, I was immediately drawn to modern portraiture. As a college student (a hundred or so years ago), I loved the edgy, black and white aesthetic. it was the 90’s. Everything was edgy, then, haha! As my photography grew and I was able to hone my skills, contemporary glamour was easily where my heart burst with joy. There is something so simple, yet so magnificent about stripping away everything you don’t like or hate about yourself and lighting everything that is beautiful. Defining that in a magazine style portrait that just, well, it sings.

Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a rampage in purchasing new pieces for our studio wardrobe. Beautiful satin and lace dresses for anyone to wear during their photo shoot here in Asheville. Elegant pieces to go that extra mile in ensuring you feel beautiful for your photo shoot. You might come in thinking, “Oh I just need new head shots” or “I’m more of a casual girl” but, having that extra piece of drop dead gorgeous never hurts anyone.

So, what better time than to test the waters myself? So, I donned one of the new pieces and called a photographer friend over, hung my black velvet backdrop and put on a face and stepped in front of her lens.

“What are you doing, Cat? Why on earth do you NEED a portrait? You just had a full on beauty session a year and a half ago with another photographer. Do you really need another one? Do you even really DESERVE another one? God, this looks horrible on you. Your makeup looks awful and you haven’t touched up your hair color and you could use to lose more than just a few pounds. You’re almost 40. There’s no way these will be even remotely resemble the you, you remember…”


“OK deep breaths, Cat.”

All the voices, I acknowledged their existence. Always in the voice of the 12-year-old me. She was constantly berated so, I can’t really blame her for being scared. It’s her job to protect me from suffering that kind of attack…oh wait…

Be careful how you speak to yourself. You are listening after all.

I took my “Before” picture in my kitchen, after a single cup of coffee in front of a window. No makeup, I don’t think I’d even brushed my hair. A real “before”, to say the least. Yup, that’s me in the morning. How did I feel about the before? Seeing the truth sometimes can be jolting. I got to see all of my flaws in the cold light of day, and then I was going to put it out there for all the interwebs to see. Haha! The dark circles under my eyes, the scowl lines in between my eyebrows from spending 20+ years in the Florida sun, my growing chin (what’s THAT about anyway, jeez) and the list goes on. The point is, that is my face. That is what I look like. In a normal day, I might throw on a little moisturizer and some eye makeup. I might even go so far as lipstick if I’m feelin sassy. I’m a pretty good lookin gal, curves and all. A little face can go a long way.

In editing the footage we shot that day, we were very careful to only go as far as we would for any client. I am very meticulous about retouching. As much as I wanted to wave my magic photo shop wand to get rid of everything I see, it was very important that I remain my beautiful self and, not some idealized version of myself. My portraiture is based on highlighting everything beautiful about my client and if I went the “extra mile” on my own portraits, it would have defeated the purpose.

before and after - beauty - asheville - photography - portrait
Having the strength to step in front of a camera can be challenging. You’re faced with all of your flaws and “I’m not good enough”, right then. You ARE good enough. everything about you is perfect. You are valued.

So, what do I see staring back at me?

  • a woman who loves her work
  • the courage to let all of the voices have their say, and then move forward to embrace this moment
  • a woman with doubts and fears, just like everyone else
  • a woman who is loved
  • a woman who has worked tirelessly to build her business
  • a beautiful portrait, now part of my legacy

I put this image out on social media yesterday. Clicking the “post” button definitely took a minute…or two but, here’s the thing, if I can’t share my very own before and after, how on earth could I ever expect you to come into my studio, let alone experience your very own transformation with us?

Our service, our process is not one of turn and burn, wham bam thank you ma’am. I want you to be able to envision yourself having your portraits made with us. I want for you to see that my purpose here is not to just photo shop everything away, it’s to showcase everything wonderful about you, right now. It’s to help you see past all of the little things you hate seeing in the mirror: all of the shoulda, woulda, coulda, all of the when I lose 15 pounds, all of the when I get to the salon or the gym, all of the maybe one days, all of the “I’m not good enough”. You ARE good enough. You DO deserve beautiful portraits. Your family and loved ones deserve beautiful portraits OF YOU.

They are your keepsakes. They are your heirlooms.

In the words of Sue Bryce, “You are beautiful. I want to capture you for All time.”

I would love to photograph you.